#1. The Storm functions as a phone in the same manner as all my previous cellular phones have.
#2. What sort of internet access do you need? I am off the opinion that no cellular phone out there surfs as well as a computer. If you need fundamental access for reading pages and doing very basic surfing, the phone will function fine. If you need more then you should really get an air card for your laptop.
#3. BB email is as efficient as accessing email from a computer. BB push email is instant and quite wonderful. You have 24 hour access from the field and can send and respond without issue. This is the BEST feature of a Blackberry.
#4. In "Loud Active" mode the Storm is quite loud - even from the pocket. I find the ear quality to be fine. However you must take care with the Storm not to use the hand from the opposite side of the ear you are listening to. It will cover the mouthpiece and muffle your voice making your conversation inaudible.
I have been with the Storm since the begining - suffering through the first terrible OS .65. I love the phone and will stick with it until another generation model or a fancier Blackberry is released. In this forum I find more people like the Storm than not. The most complaints come from those who have owned previous Blackberry models and miss their trackball and physical keyboard.
You get a short period to test drive the phone with Verizon. If you haven't previously owned a Blackberry, it is more likely you will fall in love with the phone.
Verizon shows several BB as "World" phones. But it appears they are not marketing the Storm as one. Yet the specs show it can be used as a Quad band GSM phone. So couldn't it be used overseas with a Sim card bought there? Or how does that work?
They sell TWO world BlackBerry devices. The 8830 and the 9530 Storm. You could call Verizon and add the international data feature to your plan or you could have your device unlocked to use on another network.
I checked into alternate carriers or providers for the Storm. Wirefly.com provides the phone for $100 and uses VZN's services and network for about 50% lower cost. I plan to switch from my 8830/Sprint to Storm/Wirefly/VZN when my contract expires. Thanks all for your feedback on the Storm.